2007 April 22 Sunday
A Harvard Liberal And Barbarians At The Gates

Alex Copulsky, Design Editor of the Harvard Political Review, reacts to a recent New York Times Magazine piece on Pope Benedict with some revealing comments about how one secular liberal views the conflict between the West and Islam.

Let us leave aside the question of whether there is a present or approaching “clash of civilizations”. It is eminently debatable. However, Benedict has a point that if one believes a clash of civilization is coming, the West's rejection of the Church has weakened it. As a liberal, secular Western liberal, I must admit that thinking in these terms makes me somewhat uneasy...after all, it's very far from PC, and only a skip, hop, and leap away from saying that “They are barbarians, and they ARE at the gates”. No one is saying that (publicly, anyway), but rather they are analytically pointing out that a certain tradition and way of life seems to be fading out, and may be approaching a crisis.

No one? I'm "no one". Lawrence Auster is "no one". Swedish blogger Fjordman is no one. (read more Fjordman on the demographic and cultural crisis of the West) Audacious Epigone is "no one". Steve Sailer is "no one". I can point to many other "no one" writers on the web. We do not exist as thinkers and observers in the minds of an intellectual at Harvard. Yet we repeatedly make arguments for how the West's existence is threatened by demographic trends which have parallels with the fall of Rome.

But Copulsky acknowledges that civilizations do collapse.

Civilizations have died before, one might want to remember. The Maya and Incans did, the Persians did, and (most relevantly) the Romans did. Pope Benedict may be a cantankerous old alarmist, or he may be a prophet in the wilderness.

That wilderness which Benedict and others speak into would be the modern Western liberal universities.

Islam challenges the very condescending liberal notion that liberalism is the natural universal belief of all humanity. Elite liberals at places like Harvard can't admit to the Islamic threat without conceding that there is no Liberal Manifest Destiny for the world and liberal elites are not the vanguard for a movement that is destined to sweep the world. But they do not want to make that concession because to make it would lower their own status in their own eyes. This all reminds me of some remarks Sage McLaughlin made to Lawrence Auster in a post called "Is the Islamic takeover of Europe inevitable?":

If "racist" now means "doesn't hate one's own kind" or "isn't interested in groveling before Muslim interlopers," then lots of otherwise decent people may simply conclude, "Very well then, God help me, I am racist." Liberals never fail to miss this important point. By declaring practically all interest in the maintenance of ethnic integrity and social distinctiveness "fascistic," "racist," "hateful," "xenophobic," or what have you, they virtually guarantee that normal people will eventually become desensitized to these words and lose their ability to distinguish between love of one's own and hatred of the Other. If liberals can't see the difference, and if they are the self-appointed experts on these matters, who is the average man in the street to disagree? Since the average man on the street has no burning desire to be displaced by foreigners and forced to comply with their every demand, he might just conclude that violent hatred is the natural and indispensable companion of ordinary self respect.

In the end, I think things are going to get much, much worse before they get better, precisely because liberals refuse to accept the most common sense limitations on the principle of tolerance. They risk discrediting tolerance altogether by making it synonymous with self-extinction.

Liberalism has become an unempirical ideology. It is just another religious faith yet its elite believers fancy themselves as unreligious.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 April 22 04:02 PM  Cultural Wars Western

Dave said at April 22, 2007 6:49 PM:

Not sure if this guy is a "No one" but he makes a lot of interesting points about what is going on in Britain.
"Looks like the 2001 forecast that natives would be a minority by 2100 are well out of date, and 2073 is the new date. Well inside my children's lifetime. Of course, the tipping point - when the number of native babies is less than the number of non-native - will be before that."

Notice the article says minority in Britain by 2073 therefore in England it will be a lot sooner than that.

Your Image Here said at April 22, 2007 8:06 PM:

Guess that offically makes me ''No one'' :)
I'm proud to be ''No one''...

John S Bolton said at April 23, 2007 12:37 AM:

Another possibility which almost no one ever brings up,
is that our professoriate and officialdom of anti-discrimination,
far from wishing and working for peace between races, incompatible ethnic groups,
and militant faiths, etc.
actually is trying to foment civil war between these.
The assumption of good faith is freely given, even when it is perhaps only pretended
that such 'moral leaders' really want to make peace between
the majority and those, such as the hostiles they will do almost anything to import
in quantity.
This assumption of good faith will quite often be absolutely wrong, though.
Considering only the effects of mass immigration of quota eligibles,
should be enough to throw the assumption to the opposite one, of intent to divide
and ramp up conflict continually and programatically.
Power-greed can explain all this.

crush41 said at April 23, 2007 12:13 PM:

In the end, I think things are going to get much, much worse before they get better, precisely because liberals refuse to accept the most common sense limitations on the principle of tolerance.

That comment is tragically spot on. An illustration of the inability of unfettered tolerance to effectively deal with intolerance can be seen clearly Randall's recent post relating the experience of natives in Sweden.

In the perceived battle for moral superiority, Western leftists criticize Western rightists for criticizing cultural (I mean this widely; in terms of IQ, epistemology, social mores, etc) incompatibilities in incoming cultures with those of their Western hosts. In insisting upon this petty squabbling, they are risking everything that Western leftists and rightists alike hold so dear. It's a persistent, recurring phenomenon.

Hal K said at April 23, 2007 1:40 PM:

What a depressing situation in Europe. It appears that they are now going to be stuck with racial/ethic/religious strife for centuries to come. If they would just wake up and turn off the spigot on immigration then I think things would work out. The question is whether it will be possible to turn off the spigot once Muslims become a majority. Perhaps by that time it would take some sort of civil war. From the way the current majority has been acting, I am guessing that they would rather just leave than actually fight for their homeland.

pjgoober said at April 23, 2007 4:11 PM:

Hal K says: "The question is whether it will be possible to turn off the spigot once Muslims become a majority."

The spigot may be impossible to turn off once muslims and other immigrants reach a far lower level than that. I am sure there will always be a segment of the white european population that will vote for mass-immigration enthused leftists come hell or high water. When their vote is added to the muslim (and other minority) vote, you get a situation where the spigot is impossible to turn off far sooner. This hardcore leftist section of the electorate may shrink over time, but it might not shrink fast enough. People that wake up in 2025 may regret their leftist votes of 2007, but by 2025 several new muslim voters may already counter-balance their change in opinion.

America is in the same boat. I saw Pat Buchanan make this point on television once. He said that once hispanics politically control enough states in the southwest, immigration reform may become a political impossibility. The other part of the equation is the hardcore leftist white voters throughout the country who may never wake up until it is too late.

Some far-leftists will never wake up, thinking that all the societal decay america reaps is it's own fault, blaming America's inherent racism for different groups having vastly different life-outcomes. Some, rather than blame their support for amnesty for america's decsent from first world status, will blame the immigration restrictionists themselves for making the newcomers feel unwelcome, thus driving them to crime, illegitimate childbirth, welfare, dropping out of high-school, illiteracy, political/business corruption and other pathologies. The social policies of George W. Bush and other "stingy" republicans and/or conservatives will be blamed for America's ongoing decay for decades to come. Mass immigration may someday allow leftists to come into a more complete monopoly on power than ever before (John S Bolton is right on target), but the vaunted circa 1990 Scandinavian utopia will not come to pass. America's descent into third world status will continue unabated, but you know a core block leftists will never, ever blame themselves and their knee-jerk support for massive third-world immigration.

Mensarefugee said at April 23, 2007 6:59 PM:

Leftists wont wake up not due to any misunderstanding of things, but simply because they have weak egos.
Thats why they make up the majority in jobs and occupations that require little merit or striking out on ones own - like Academia and Government.

John S Bolton said at April 23, 2007 10:23 PM:

One would have to persuade them to abandon their dreams of power, but an influx of hostiles stimulates such hopes.
War eliminates restraint on power.
With government schools, it is possible to redefine, or equivocate,
such terms as racism
into all-purpose smear-terms which change definitions as needed.
The best part of all this,
is that the almost exclusive use of smear approaches by the power-greedy
means that no rational arguments can be found,
even by the smartest, most academically connected,
for the great increase in power over against the citizenry
that they seek.

Kenelm Digby said at April 24, 2007 4:20 AM:

Your analogy of 'liberalism' with 'religion' is a good one.
I believe that Marxism was once described as 'the God that failed', and recalling my youth and formative years in the early 1970s, I well remember the driven, wild-eyed fanaticism that drove the hard-core left-wingers (they were everywhere in those days, school-teachers for some reason being the most committed)and remember it being stronger, wider and more fanatical than anything I've seen from a religious maniac of any denomination I've ever encountered.
Remember the Che posters, The Karl Marx posters etc?
Curiously although Pol Pot caused some embarrassment, it was inly after the events of 1989-91 that most faded away.

Brent Lane said at April 24, 2007 5:09 AM:

When Mr Capulsky referred to 'no one' in the article, he meant 'no one with whom I would be willing to have my name connected in any way shape or form'.

The good news is that someone of Mr Capulsky's position and worldview is even willing to publicly acknowledge the ideas of the Austers, Sailers and Parkers. The ultimate question is, will anyone with actual power take action in time?

birch barlow said at April 24, 2007 11:23 AM:

Unskilled immigration needs to be stopped ASAP. What frustrates me is that it seems *painfully* obvious that unskilled immigration has not only been a net negative, but has been enormously destructive. Let's face it, the average white person is not all that smart, and 75% of Latino immigrants are even less intelligent than that (assuming a white/Latino IQ gap of 10 points).

The bottom line problem is that most people in power--whether in government, corporations, or education--are painfully incompetent. It's not just GWB who's a blithering idiot, the average corporate HR employee is a total idiot--they see conformity and a piece of paper (the college degree) as far more important than actual ability, for example. As Sailer says, the 4-year university degree may be useful only as a proxy IQ test, but few elites seem to see it that way. Just as one example, universities expect undergraduates to be doing enormously labor intensive*, yet pitiful research projects if they want to graduate (have you ever seen an undergrad research project or paper? B-O-R-I-N-G pretty much spells it). Breadth requirements and upper division science writing requirements should be abolished--the idea of a well-rounded Renaissance man is grossly outdated.

Unfortunately, essentially irrational, un- or anti-scientifically thinking status-seekers hold the keys to the kingdom, and as long as this is the case, there is probably little hope for America or the West.

*My guess is that the correlation between IQ and socioeconomic status has actually been *declining* in recent years because of the rise of busywork and resurgence of the well-rounded Renaissance Man idea in education. Incidentally, the increasing expectation of doing labor-intensive busywork in college and college prep courses is probably a major reason why men are increasingly turning away from higher education.

Mensarefugee said at April 26, 2007 5:38 PM:

Over at inductivist, Ron has shown (search for it) that the marriage rate between college graduates has been declining...from .59 to .39 if I recall correctly. Showing that a large chunk of the like marrying like is an IQ thing, not an education thing. I wouldnt be surprised if the IQ/SES link has weakened - but I doubt its been by *THAT* much - more likely the link between education and SES has weakened. (not backed by any data I know of though).

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